A connexin30 mutation rescues hearing and reveals roles for gap junctions in cochlear amplification and micromechanics.
ABSTRACT: Accelerated age-related hearing loss disrupts high-frequency hearing in inbred CD-1 mice. The p.Ala88Val (A88V) mutation in the gene coding for the gap-junction protein connexin30 (Cx30) protects the cochlear basal turn of adult CD-1Cx30A88V/A88V mice from degeneration and rescues hearing. Here we report that the passive compliance of the cochlear partition and active frequency tuning of the basilar membrane are enhanced in the cochleae of CD-1Cx30A88V/A88V compared to CBA/J mice with sensitive high-frequency hearing, suggesting that gap junctions contribute to passive cochlear mechanics and energy distribution in the active cochlea. Surprisingly, the endocochlear potential that drives mechanoelectrical transduction currents in outer hair cells and hence cochlear amplification is greatly reduced in CD-1Cx30A88V/A88V mice. Yet, the saturating amplitudes of cochlear microphonic potentials in CD-1Cx30A88V/A88V and CBA/J mice are comparable. Although not conclusive, these results are compatible with the proposal that transmembrane potentials, determined mainly by extracellular potentials, drive somatic electromotility of outer hair cells.
Project description:Cyclodextrins are sugar compounds that are increasingly finding medicinal uses due to their ability to complex with hydrophobic molecules. One cyclodextrin in particular, 2-hydroxypropyl-?-cyclodextrin (HP?CD), is used as a carrier to solubilize lipophilic drugs and is itself being considered as a therapeutic agent for treatment of Niemann-Pick Type C disease, due to its ability to mobilize cholesterol. Results from toxicological studies suggest that HP?CD is generally safe, but a recent study has found that it causes hearing loss in cats. Whether the hearing loss occurred via death of cochlear hair cells, rendering it permanent, was unexplored. In the present study, we examined peripheral auditory function and cochlear histology in mice after subcutaneous injection of HP?CD to test for hearing loss and correlate any observed auditory deficits with histological findings. On average, auditory brainstem response thresholds were elevated at 4, 16, and 32 kHz in mice one week after treatment with 8,000 mg/kg. In severely affected mice all outer hair cells were missing in the basal half of the cochlea. In many cases, surviving hair cells in the cochlear apex exhibited abnormal punctate distribution of the motor protein prestin, suggesting long term changes to membrane composition and integrity. Mice given a lower dose of 4,000 mg/kg exhibited hearing loss only after repeated doses, but these threshold shifts were temporary. Therefore, cyclodextrin-induced hearing loss was complex, involving cell death and other more subtle influences on cochlear physiology.
Project description:Oxidative stress has been linked to noise- and drug-induced as well as age-related hearing loss. Antioxidants can attenuate the decline of cochlear structure and function after exposure to noise or drugs, but it is debated as to whether they can protect from age-related hearing loss. In a long-term longitudinal study, 10-month-old female CBA/J mice were placed on either a control or antioxidant-enriched diet and monitored through 24 months of age. Supplementation with vitamins A, C, and E, L-carnitine, and ?-lipoic acid significantly increased the antioxidant capacity of inner ear tissues. However, by 24 months of age, the magnitude of hearing loss was equal between the two groups. Likewise, there were no significant differences in hair cell loss or degeneration of spiral ganglion cells. We conclude that dietary manipulations can alter cochlear antioxidant capacity but do not ameliorate age-related sensorineural hearing loss in the CBA/J mouse.
Project description:Inbred strain variants of the Cdh23 gene have been shown to influence the onset and progression of age-related hearing loss (AHL) in mice. In linkage backcrosses, the recessive Cdh23 allele (ahl) of the C57BL/6J strain, when homozygous, confers increased susceptibility to AHL, while the dominant allele (Ahl+) of the CBA/CaJ strain confers resistance. To determine the isolated effects of these alleles on different strain backgrounds, we produced the reciprocal congenic strains B6.CBACa-Cdh23(Ahl)(+) and CBACa.B6-Cdh23(ahl) and tested 15-30 mice from each for hearing loss progression. ABR thresholds for 8 kHz, 16 kHz, and 32 kHz pure-tone stimuli were measured at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 months of age and compared with age-matched mice of the C57BL/6J and CBA/CaJ parental strains. Mice of the C57BL/6N strain, which is the source of embryonic stem cells for the large International Knockout Mouse Consortium, were also tested for comparisons with C57BL/6J mice. Mice of the C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N strains exhibited identical hearing loss profiles: their 32 kHz ABR thresholds were significantly higher than those of CBA/CaJ and congenic strain mice by 6 months of age, and their 16 kHz thresholds were significantly higher by 12 months. Thresholds of the CBA/CaJ, the B6.CBACa-Cdh23(Ahl)(+), and the CBACa.B6-Cdh23(ahl) strain mice differed little from one another and only slightly increased throughout the 18-month test period. Hearing loss, which corresponded well with cochlear hair cell loss, was most profound in the C57BL/6J and C57BL/6NJ strains. These results indicate that the CBA/CaJ-derived Cdh23(Ahl)(+) allele dramatically lessens hearing loss and hair cell death in an otherwise C57BL/6J genetic background, but that the C57BL/6J-derived Cdh23(ahl) allele has little effect on hearing loss in an otherwise CBA/CaJ background. We conclude that although Cdh23(ahl) homozygosity is necessary, it is not by itself sufficient to account for the accelerated hearing loss of C57BL/6J mice.
Project description:Previous studies have reported that modification of histones alters aminoglycoside-induced hair cell death and hearing loss. In this study, we investigated three FDA-approved histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (vorinostat/SAHA, belinostat, and panobinostat) as protectants against aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity in murine cochlear explants and in vivo in both guinea pigs and CBA/J mice. Individually, all three HDAC inhibitors reduced gentamicin (GM)-induced hair cell loss in a dose-dependent fashion in explants. In vivo, however, treatment with SAHA attenuated neither GM-induced hearing loss and hair cell loss in guinea pigs nor kanamycin (KM)-induced hearing loss and hair cell loss in mice under chronic models of ototoxicity. These findings suggest that treatment with the HDAC inhibitor SAHA attenuates aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity in an acute model, but not in chronic models, cautioning that one cannot rely solely on in vitro experiments to test the efficacy of otoprotectant compounds.
Project description:Sound information is transduced into graded receptor potential by cochlear hair cells and encoded as discrete action potentials of auditory nerve fibers. In the cochlear nucleus, auditory nerve fibers convey this information through morphologically distinct synaptic terminals onto bushy cells (BCs) and stellate cells (SCs) for processing of different sound features. With expanding use of transgenic mouse models, it is increasingly important to understand the in vivo functional development of these neurons in mice. We characterized the maturation of spontaneous and acoustically evoked activity in BCs and SCs by acquiring single-unit juxtacellular recordings between hearing onset (P12) and young adulthood (P30) of anesthetized CBA/J mice. In both cell types, hearing sensitivity and characteristic frequency (CF) range are mostly adult-like by P14, consistent with rapid maturation of the auditory periphery. In BCs, however, some physiological features like maximal firing rate, dynamic range, temporal response properties, recovery from post-stimulus depression, first spike latency (FSL) and encoding of sinusoid amplitude modulation undergo further maturation up to P18. In SCs, the development of excitatory responses is even more prolonged, indicated by a gradual increase in spontaneous and maximum firing rates up to P30. In the same cell type, broadly tuned acoustically evoked inhibition is immediately effective at hearing onset, covering the low- and high-frequency flanks of the excitatory response area. Together, these data suggest that maturation of auditory processing in the parallel ascending BC and SC streams engages distinct mechanisms at the first central synapses that may differently depend on the early auditory experience.
Project description:Mitochondria modulate cellular calcium homeostasis by the combined action of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU), a selective calcium entry channel, and the sodium calcium exchanger (NCLX), which extrudes calcium from mitochondria. In this study, we investigated MCU and NCLX in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) using adult CBA/J mice and noise-induced alterations of inner hair cell (IHC) synapses in MCU knockout mice. Following noise exposure, immunoreactivity of MCU increased in cochlear sensory hair cells of the basal turn, while immunoreactivity of NCLX decreased in a time- and exposure-dependent manner. Inhibition of MCU activity via MCU siRNA pretreatment or the specific pharmacological inhibitor Ru360 attenuated noise-induced loss of sensory hair cells and synaptic ribbons, wave I amplitudes, and NIHL in CBA/J mice. This protection was afforded, at least in part, through reduced cleavage of caspase 9 (CC9). Furthermore, MCU knockout mice on a hybrid genetic CD1 and C57/B6 background showed resistance to noise-induced seizures compared to wild-type littermates. Owing to the CD1 background, MCU knockouts and littermates suffer genetic high frequency hearing loss, but their IHCs remain intact. Noise-induced loss of IHC synaptic connections and reduction of auditory brainstem response (ABR) wave I amplitude were recovered in MCU knockout mice. These results suggest that cellular calcium influx during noise exposure leads to mitochondrial calcium overload via MCU and NCLX. Mitochondrial calcium overload, in turn, initiates cell death pathways and subsequent loss of hair cells and synaptic connections, resulting in NIHL.
Project description:Mouse Tmc1 and Tmc2 are required for sensory transduction in cochlear and vestibular hair cells. Homozygous Tmc1?/? mice are deaf, Tmc2?/? mice have normal hearing, and double homozygous Tmc1?/?; Tmc2?/? mice have deafness and profound vestibular dysfunction. These phenotypes are consistent with their different spatiotemporal expression patterns. Tmc1 expression is persistent in cochlear and vestibular hair cells, whereas Tmc2 expression is transient in cochlear hair cells but persistent in vestibular hair cells. On the basis of these findings, we hypothesized that persistent Tmc2 expression in mature cochlear hair cells could restore auditory function in Tmc1?/? mice. To express Tmc2 in mature cochlear hair cells, we generated a transgenic mouse line, Tg[PTmc1::Tmc2], in which Tmc2 cDNA is expressed under the control of the Tmc1 promoter. The Tg[PTmc1::Tmc2] transgene slightly but significantly restored hearing in young Tmc1?/? mice, though hearing thresholds were elevated with age. The elevation of hearing thresholds was associated with deterioration of sensory transduction in inner hair cells and loss of outer hair cell function. Although sensory transduction was retained in outer hair cells, their stereocilia eventually degenerated. These results indicate distinct roles and requirements for Tmc1 and Tmc2 in mature cochlear hair cells.
Project description:A detrimental perceptive consequence of damaged auditory sensory hair cells consists in a pronounced masking effect exerted by low-frequency sounds, thought to occur when auditory threshold elevation substantially exceeds 40 dB. Here, we identified the submembrane scaffold protein Nherf1 as a hair-bundle component of the differentiating outer hair cells (OHCs). Nherf1(-/-) mice displayed OHC hair-bundle shape anomalies in the mid and basal cochlea, normally tuned to mid- and high-frequency tones, and mild (22-35 dB) hearing-threshold elevations restricted to midhigh sound frequencies. This mild decrease in hearing sensitivity was, however, discordant with almost nonresponding OHCs at the cochlear base as assessed by distortion-product otoacoustic emissions and cochlear microphonic potentials. Moreover, unlike wild-type mice, responses of Nherf1(-/-) mice to high-frequency (20-40 kHz) test tones were not masked by tones of neighboring frequencies. Instead, efficient maskers were characterized by their frequencies up to two octaves below the probe-tone frequency, unusually low intensities up to 25 dB below probe-tone level, and growth-of-masker slope (2.2 dB/dB) reflecting their compressive amplification. Together, these properties do not fit the current acknowledged features of a hypersensitivity of the basal cochlea to lower frequencies, but rather suggest a previously unidentified mechanism. Low-frequency maskers, we propose, may interact within the unaffected cochlear apical region with midhigh frequency sounds propagated there via a mode possibly using the persistent contact of misshaped OHC hair bundles with the tectorial membrane. Our findings thus reveal a source of misleading interpretations of hearing thresholds and of hypervulnerability to low-frequency sound interference.
Project description:The exquisite sensitivity and frequency discrimination of mammalian hearing underlie the ability to understand complex speech in noise. This requires force generation by cochlear outer hair cells (OHCs) to amplify the basilar membrane traveling wave; however, it is unclear how amplification is achieved with sharp frequency tuning. Here we investigated the origin of tuning by measuring sound-induced 2-D vibrations within the mouse organ of Corti in vivo Our goal was to determine the transfer function relating the radial shear between the structures that deflect the OHC bundle, the tectorial membrane and reticular lamina, to the transverse motion of the basilar membrane. We found that, after normalizing their responses to the vibration of the basilar membrane, the radial vibrations of the tectorial membrane and reticular lamina were tuned. The radial tuning peaked at a higher frequency than transverse basilar membrane tuning in the passive, postmortem condition. The radial tuning was similar in dead mice, indicating that this reflected passive, not active, mechanics. These findings were exaggerated in Tecta(C1509G/C1509G) mice, where the tectorial membrane is detached from OHC stereocilia, arguing that the tuning of radial vibrations within the hair cell epithelium is distinct from tectorial membrane tuning. Together, these results reveal a passive, frequency-dependent contribution to cochlear filtering that is independent of basilar membrane filtering. These data argue that passive mechanics within the organ of Corti sharpen frequency selectivity by defining which OHCs enhance the vibration of the basilar membrane, thereby tuning the gain of cochlear amplification.Outer hair cells amplify the traveling wave within the mammalian cochlea. The resultant gain and frequency sharpening are necessary for speech discrimination, particularly in the presence of background noise. Here we measured the 2-D motion of the organ of Corti in mice and found that the structures that stimulate the outer hair cell stereocilia, the tectorial membrane and reticular lamina, were sharply tuned in the radial direction. Radial tuning was similar in dead mice and in mice lacking a tectorial membrane. This suggests that radial tuning comes from passive mechanics within the hair cell epithelium, and that these mechanics, at least in part, may tune the gain of cochlear amplification.
Project description:Olivocochlear (OC) neurons were studied in a transgenic mouse with deletion of the alpha 9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit. In this alpha 9 knockout mouse, the peripheral effects of OC stimulation are lacking and the peripheral terminals of OC neurons under outer hair cells have abnormal morphology. To account for this mouse's apparently normal hearing, it has been proposed to have central compensation via collateral branches to the cochlear nucleus. We tested this idea by staining OC neurons for acetylcholinesterase and examining their morphology in knockout mice, wild-type mice of the same background strain, and CBA/CaJ mice. Knockout mice had normal OC systems in terms of numbers of OC neurons, dendritic patterns, and numbers of branches to the cochlear nucleus. The branch terminations were mainly to edge regions and to a lesser extent the core of the cochlear nucleus, and were similar among the strains in terms of the distribution and staining density. These data demonstrate that there are no obvious changes in the central morphology of the OC neurons in alpha 9 knockout mice and make less attractive the idea that there is central compensation for deletion of the peripheral receptor in these mice.